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NFL Power Rankings Week Four: Browns Jump Up To 21 In ESPN Power Rankings On Play Of Young Draft Picks

Colt McCoy said it best: A win is a win. And that win was enough to bump the Browns from a less-than-inspiring 29th in the ESPN Power Rankings a week ago to 21st in this week's edition.

Yes, the Browns could (and should) be 3-0. Yes, the Browns opponents have combined for an ASTOUNDING 1-8 record. Yes, the team has flaws galore. But, let’s enjoy the fact that the team is 2-1 for at least a minute or two. ESPN had this to say about the Browns:

21 (29) Browns 2-1 The Browns have beaten two winless teams (Indianapolis, Miami). But they’ll take it. (Walker)

They’ll take it…and fans will take it (even if they complain about it). With games left against Tennessee, Oakland, Seattle, San Francisco, Houston, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Cincinnati and Arizona (as well as the two matchups apiece against the Ravens and Steelers), this is one of the easiest schedules the Browns have had in a long time.

And what about early returns from the 2011 NFL Draft? Well, the Falcons (who traded up with the Browns to select Juilo Jones and gave Cleveland their 2011 1st round pick, 2011 2nd round pick and 2012 1st round pick) lost on Sunday, dropping to 1-2. Phil Taylor (who the Browns selected after trading their 3rd rounder and the 21st overall pick to the Kansas City Chiefs) had a strong game, as did the Browns other 2nd rounder selection, Jabaal Sheard.

Greg Little, whom the Browns selected with the Falcons second round pick, had three big catches during the game winning drive on Sunday. 4th round pick FB Owen Marecic has been getting a ton of valuable minutes, CB Buster Skrine has been getting involved in nickle and dime packages and on kick returns and Jason Pinkston (5th round) stepped in to start for the injured Eric Steinbach and has done a better-than-expected job thus far.

Those players, along with guys like Colt McCoy, Joe Thomas, Alex Mack, Ahtyba Rubin, Shawn Lauvao, Evan Moore, Mohamed Massaquoi, Montario Hardesty, Joe Haden and TJ Ward are forming the backbone of this young team. So with a less-than-formidable schedule and a chance to gain valuable playing time, the team can gel and grow.

It may not pay off immediately, but continued draft success and shrewd front office moves (like the quiet trade for Jayme Mitchell last year and the probable extensions of both D’Qwell Jackson and Peyton Hillis) give hope for the future. True, a win is just a win, but a 2-1 start is something to be a little excited about.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.